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A Dark Room

by Michael Townsend


Web Site

(based on 37 ratings)
6 reviews

About the Story

A Dark Room is a famous text-based indie game made by doublespeakgames, which was inspired by Candy Box, but it's much grimmer in tone, with a stronger plot and a more roguelike-like focus on survival. And it received a number of awards for its nice concept & great design.

How to play:
A Dark Room starts with a few lines of text on a white screen, and what you can do is pressing the “stoke fire” button. When a ragged stranger has come, you keep stoking the fire, the grey progress bar slowly filling itself out again each time to signal when you’ll be able to press the “stoke fire” button again. Then you will find more strangers come, and more resource should be built & managed, and you will begin your own story.

According to The New Yorker, "When A Dark Room was first released on iPhone, at the end of 2013, the game was listed in a number of Best of the Year lists, including those published by Forbes, Paste, and the gaming site, Giant Bomb."

Game Details


38th Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of All Time (2023 edition)

Editorial Reviews

純文字冒險手游《小黑屋》安卓上架 用文字編織出黑白經營故事 提及到手機上有哪些純文字冒險遊戲的話,相信不少玩家都比較難想像出來,畢竟這類型遊戲本身就不算多。不過在其之中有一款名為 A Dark Room《小黑屋》的遊戲可以說是這類遊戲的佼佼者,該作沒有一絲畫面,純文字搭配黑白介面頗有氣氛。而這款 2013 年就已經在 iOS 平台上架的遊戲如今時隔三年終於推出安卓版,安卓玩家也能夠體驗遊戲樂趣了。

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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A surprisingly deep and evocative resource management game, August 11, 2023
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 2-4 hours

How can you describe A Dark Room? It is truly unlike anything I've played before. The style is simple: black and white screens, all lowercase letters, just text and ASCII maps to move around. But the game designer was able to accomplish so much with those elements and you are drawn into the game so deeply that you feel like you are living it out. The game only takes 2-4 hours to playthrough, depending on the choices that you make, and I remember during my first playthrough being so immersed in the game that I pretty much finished it in one session, all the while my family went about their Saturday morning around me.

You play the main character, who at the beginning of the game wakes up not really remembering how they got there. A friend helps take care of you for a little bit, but shortly you are working together with her, collecting resources, crafting equipment and stepping out of your little camp to explore the world. You can recruit others to help you and you can also find resources out on the map, but you will have to fight your way through monsters and men to get them. The combat is RPG style, with you selecting an attack, then having a cool down period before you can pick another one. There are consequences to dying, but not so severe as to set you back much, rather you will just want to get out there and try again.

I'm struggling with what to write about this game without spoiling portions of it. Also, it is hard to compare it to anything because there is nothing quite like it. I would just recommend playing it for 10-15 minutes and I'm pretty sure you will be hooked after that.

There is some replayability to this game as well, after it is over the game suggests that you try again with a new strategy, one that I didn't even consider on my first run. Doing it this other way yields a very different experience and a different ending as well. Finally, after you beat the game you can read the designers' notes, which provide a lot of insight into what just happened.

This is one I might come back and give 5-stars to at some point, depending on how it grows on me and what it feels like playing it again after awhile.

EDIT 08/11/23: So this is me coming back to give this game 5 stars. It has really stuck with me. While it isn't IF in the traditional parser or choice-based style, I think the foundation and spirit of IF is there, along with some RPG elements. So many great things in this game. Worthy of a Top 50 vote.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A long crafting and exploration-based idle game/roguelike, September 17, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

I played this game because it was one of 2 on the Interactive Fiction Top 50 poll of 2023 and I had never played it before.

There are a lot of things that can be spoiled in the game, so I'm going to just describe the beginning here and some accessibility stuff, then put some mid-game stuff in spoilers, and leave out the endgame stuff.

The game starts like an idle game like Universal paperclips. You have a 'stoke the fire' button and, on another tab, a 'gather wood' button. A stranger wanders in, freezing in the cold.

Gameplay expands significantly as you go on, adding crafting mechanics and mild city-building. Eventually you do need movement keys and there are some parts I don't think would be accessible to screen readers.

For mid-game spoilers:

(Spoiler - click to show)Once you are able to craft a compass, you are able to explore a world map. This map contains a variety of outposts, and includes real-time combat that involves clicking, with some battles requiring intense clicking.

As you explore the map, you can make the world a safer place, eliminating threats as you go and establishing outposts. As you do so, you learn about the lore of the world.

Overall, the game is very polished, and while minimalistic it is descriptive. The interactivity worked well for me, although I found some endgame timed events very difficult. I found the game emotionally satisfying and could see myself revisiting it.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A fun time waster particularly if you enjoyed the old BASIC games, May 10, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

A brilliant minimalist RPG that hearkens back to 80’s games made in BASIC only with the polish and creativity of today’s designers.

I have a soft spot for games that are light on exposition and throw you into a scene. The opening here has you in a dark room with the ability to build a fire, your other goals unknown. From there the most complex the game gets visually is an overworld map using ASCII characters. Despite this the story develops at a near perfect pace with ample doses of hope and horror. To say more would be pointless, other than it’s accessible to anyone and isn’t terribly difficult if you’re patient. I’ve also played it through three times because it’s that damn good (there's also more than one ending depending on your strategy).

I've only played the iOS port by Amir Rajan which I hear is a bit more polished and fleshed out.

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A Dark Room on IFDB

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The following polls include votes for A Dark Room:

Your very first game. by DustyCypress
Do you still remember when you played your very first IF? How did you get drawn (and perhaps addicted) to IF and have been playing still? What was the title that started it all for you? I started with a collection called "The Adventure...

Best Mobile Games that Aren't Choicescript by thecanvasrose
I've run into some cool ones. Let's hear it! 》 Choicescript games are often (but not always) titled "Choice of ____." Games like "Choice of Robots" and "Creatures Such as We" are Choicescript games.

Indie games that are commercial or were commercial at one point by deathbytroggles
So I'm not looking for games from the well-known companies like Infocom, Tellarium, Legend, etc. Looking to compile a list of: 1. Games that used to be commercial but no longer (e.g. Once and Future, The Shadow and the Cathedral, 1893)...

See all polls with votes for this game

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